The Colorado Avalanche should consider inviting some Team USA and Team Canada women’s players to their camps to train them in some of the moves they executed at the Gold Medal Game.
The Colorado Avalanche could learn a few things from the Canadian and USA Olympic teams. Watching the game last night, I kept thinking, “I wish the Avs would do that!”
One of the first things I noticed was the Canadians’ backchecking. I was cheering for Team USA, not because of any sense of patriotism, but because I have a girl crush on Hilary Knight.
Anyway, because I was cheering for Team USA, it was so frustrating to watch the Canadian backchecking. Those women flew back into position right away. There seemed to be a dozen of them out there, but truthfully they just took up all the ice — no small feat considering the Olympic hockey games are played on a bigger sheet.
The players were just well spread out and in good position. Their sticks were in likewise good position. What’s more, said sticks were active. These factors together made it difficult for Team USA to get any rhythm going in the offensive zone — like I said, that was frustrating.
That’s when I started thinking, “If the Avalanche players showed positioning and stick work like that, they might be semi-ok without Erik Johnson. Not fine, but maybe they won’t have to rely so heavily on the goalie.”
All in all, I was very impressed with every level of stickwork the Canadian women showcased in the Gold Medal Game.
Even though the Canadians did a good job of backchecking, I liked what I saw from Team USA in terms of forechecking. They never gave up on the puck. They also tried to play smart with the puck. Every now and then, they might try to get too cute, but for the most part they kept plays simple. And they executed tape-to-tape passes.
What’s more, I noticed they didn’t give up on any battles. It’s true that on the Olympic-sized ice you don’t see as many corner and board battles. However, the USA women nonetheless were consistent in staying with the puck in the offensive zone.
The Colorado Avalanche tend to be inconsistent with their forechecking. I don’t know why. They’re not too bad at their board and corner battles — indeed, this is something they work on in practices. However, they sometimes are easy to disperse in the offensive zone. Except for when there’s a power play, there never seems to be five Avalanche in the o-zone.
I think sometimes they rely on Nathan to do his MacKinnon thing, which is fine. I’d like to see the other three lines forecheck like the USA women, though.
As far as individual efforts go, I was highly impressed by goalie Shannon Szabados. She flashes the leather like… I don’t know who. She was named best goaltender of the tournament.
Marie-Philip Poulin is a beast. I know she’s a skill player, but she also plays a physical game. She laid out a few of the Team USA women.
I’d like to see what she does to Tyson Barrie — as long as he doesn’t get injured, of course. (I use Barrie as an example because he seems to like to get hit more than be the hitter. I wouldn’t put her against Samuel Girard because I don’t want her to break out teenage rookie.)
My girl, Hilary Knight, is a playmaker. I wonder how she’d do with a finisher like Tyson Jost.
And then Jocelyne Lamoureux did this:
I don’t know what that is. No one knows what that is. It’s sick. I want to see Matt Duchene do it. I know he’s not an Av anymore, but I’d pay to see him do the LAMO.
Side note: Meghan Agosta of Team Canada did the Forsberg for her first shootout move. It was beautiful, and she executed it perfectly — which annoyed me because I was rooting for Team USA.
I wonder if a couple of the women from each team can come work with the Colorado Avalanche prospects in the summer and training camp next fall. I think both sides could benefit — and I’d love the Avs to learn some of the moves listed above.